Along with getting used to being back at work these past couple of weeks, I’ve also been balancing working and breastfeeding. I’m happy to say it’s been much easier than I was expecting. In fairness, my flexible working hours mean I’m not rushing in the morning so we’ve time for breakfast and then a little feed in the morning before we head off. S is doing really well during the day drinking his water and eating his meals at crèche. Once we’re together again in the evening, he’s having another feed straightaway which is then followed by a long, leisurely feed at bedtime which he’s enjoying for a long old time!
Since he’s been sick he’s actually sleeping much better and he’s only waking once or twice at night. We’re putting him down in his cot but if he wakes when we’re in bed ourselves, we pop him in with us where he has a little nurse and then we all snuggle down for a good sleep. If he needs a little nurse again later, off he goes and I usually doze through it. This is really working for us at the moment because we’re all getting a good rest and my God, do we need it!
I’ve had interesting reactions to my breastfeeding at work. I’m not shy about mentioning it because I don’t feel there’s anything unusual or wrong with feeding an 11 month old and I’m not prepared to be apologetic about it. I have seen some politely strained faces though, trying not to react but clearly perturbed. I’ve had a couple of comments but they’ve been made without the knowledge that my son doesn’t take a bottle, so people would be unfamiliar with how that’s managed and that’s okay.
The HR department have been great providing a room with a fridge for me to express in if I need to although really I’ve just needed to relieve the pressure once. I manually expressed, which I actually find really uncomfortable, so I’ve been carting around my brilliant Medela Swing in my handbag but it hasn’t been necessary so far. I think I’ll give it til the end of the week and then leave it at home.
I had a very frustrating conversation with a doctor in the children’s hospital where we took S to be rehydrated when he was sick. I was so disappointed that we didn’t see eye to eye on breastfeeding because she was so brilliant, really sound and very attentive. She was about the same age as me. It felt like we had quickly built a rapport only for it to be knocked down when she compared breastfeeding my sick son to giving him dairy. She suggested it would upset his stomach more, like yoghurt or cream. No mention of the antibodies or the hydrating properties or the comfort it provided. Or that I’m not a cow. She actually recommended that I actively avoid nursing him until he was ready to hold down solids.
Look, I let it go…quiet in my confidence that continuing to feed him was the right thing to do. I was super indignant for about twenty minutes where I was mentally composing my strongly worded letter to the head of the hospital about not pursuing a pro-breastfeeding policy for sick babies. But you know what? I’ll pick my battles. We couldn’t have asked for better care delivered with such speed and not everyone gets to say that, do they?